Review: Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018)
Spacious and luxurious interior. A rarity on the roads so ensures exclusivity. 3.0 BiTDI engine with 313PS is immense. Black Edition models available.
Multitronic CVT in lower powered 3.0 TDI is relaxed but not very responsive.
Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018): At A Glance
The 2011 Audi A7 Sportback isn't an easy car to pigeonhole. Masters of continually creating new niche markets, Audi described it as ‘executive travel with a new slant'. The idea was it blended the comfort of a saloon with the practicality of a hatchback, all wrapped up in the sleek shape of a coupe.
Designed to bridge the gap between the A6 and the A8 (if there was one) it sits alongside other ‘alternative' models like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 5 Series GT offering similar levels of refinement and luxury, while the five-door hatchback bodystyle explains why it carries the Sportback badge.
This is very evident inside where the interior is similar to the latest Audi A8 with all-new controls and amazing attention to detail. The quality and finish are unsurpassed by anything else and it has that solid, well-built feel that's become a trademark of Audi cars.
It's amazingly advanced too with a great navigation and multimedia system along with a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and an electrically opening tailgate as standard. And to help it stand out there's a subtle rear spoiler on the hatch which automatically raises at 80mph.
Travelling in the A7 Sportback is a delight thanks to supreme refinement, amazing sound insulation and a smooth ride. It also handles very well with great grip - especially so in the quattro four-wheel drive models - and impressive poise in corners. It may look like an A8 from the front but it's based on a new chassis which is used in the latest A6.
The A7 Sportback also features Audi's best engines, all of which offer strong performance with good economy, helped by an automatic stop/start system. The 3.0 TDI is impressively efficient given its size yet still has plenty of pace when needed.
Some people may ask why the A7 Sportback is needed when there's already the luxury A8, the A6 range and the A5 Sportback in the Audi line-up. However it does offer something genuinely different to existing models and for those who like to have something that's not quite run of the mill, but still offers luxury and quality, the A7 Sportback is spot on.
What does a Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018) cost?
Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 535–1390 litres
The A7 Sportback is designed to offer something more versatile than the executive saloon or the luxury class, but with similar levels of quality and refinement.
At almost five metres long it's no surprise that there is an impressive amount of interior space, especially for those in the back who get to enjoy the acres of legroom and good head space. Getting three across the back is difficult though due to the high transmission tunnel which means there's precious little room for your feet if you're perched in the middle.
It's very practical though and as the name suggest, the A7 Sportback has five doors - one being the hatchback tailgate which immediately helps differentiate it from the normal saloons in Audi's line-up.
It also makes this Audi the perfect grand tourer with a boot that's bigger than the A8 thanks to a 535-litre capacity which can cope with several large suitcases and still have room to spare. The rear seats can also be folded down so you can carry the odd bit of furniture or a bicycle plus an electrically opening and closing tailgate comes as standard which is useful when you've got armfuls of shopping.
From behind the wheel there are plenty of similarities with the A8 with new controls and a fresh layout. The quality of the finish is really incredible with almost craftsman's levels of attention to detail. Every switch and button is solid and perfectly fitted, making the interior feel every inch the high-end luxury vehicle the A7 Sportback. There's a range of finishes available including a lovely veneer of layered oak which wouldn't look out of place on a luxury yacht. It really is one of the best interiors designs around.
Like the A8, the interior of the A7 Sportback isn't cluttered by buttons which helps the modern appearance. Instead systems such as the stereo, Bluetooth and satellite navigation are controlled via what Audi calls its MMI system (or Multi Media Interface).
This features a dial (situated in front of the gear lever) for scrolling through the various functions and a large colour screen that neatly slides out of the dash top. It's very intuitive to use and although the sheer number of functions can seem daunting at first, it only takes a short time to familiarise yourself with it. The standard leather seats are perfectly placed to provide a great driving position and they're incredibly comfortable yet supportive. Both front seats are electrically adjustable and heated too.
New innovations include an optional head-up display similar to the system BMW introduced a few years ago and is available on the latest 5 Series among others. This projects key data (such as fuel economy and speed) onto the windscreen so that it cleverly appears as if it's floating around 2.5 metres ahead of the driver. There are also LED lights for the headlights and rear light clusters.
Among the more indulgent options available are comfort seats with heating, cooling and massaging functions, acoustic glazing, supple leather trimming for the centre console, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with 1300 watts of power, TV reception and various connectivity upgrades for the MMI system.
However, perhaps the most impressive option is the park assist system. This is much more than simply parking sensors and a camera, it will actually take over the steering for you and manouevre the car into a parallel space or one at 90 degress, like in a supermarket car park, so all you have to do is worry about the accelerator and brake.
Standard equipment from launch (January 2011):
SE has 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with daytime running lights, an electrically operated tailgate, the Audi Drive Select system, Bluetooth, DVD navigation, DAB digital radio, Milano leather upholstery, Audi Parking System Plus, music interface, electrically adjustable heated front seats, cruise control, electric windows, two-zone climate control, four-spoke multifunction steering wheel and a front centre armrest.
S line adds 19-inch alloys, S line body styling, sports seats in valcona leather, S line interior styling, inlays in brushed Aluminium, black cloth headlining, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and lowered sports suspension.
There are 11 paint finishes available for the A7 Sportback. The two solid colours are called Ibis White and Brilliant Black. The six metallic colours are Dakota Gray, Ice Silver, Havana Black, Moonlight Blue, Oolong Gray and Quartz Gray. Completing the palette are the three pearl-effect finishes - Phantom Black, Garnet Red and Impala Beige.
Child seats that fit a Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 2.8 FSI quattro to 3.0 TFSI quattro
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 22–49 mpg
Audi is always keen to highlight how light its cars are thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and high-tech steels and this is very much the case with the A7 Sportback.
The 3.0 TDI model weighs 1770kg which is quite incredible for a car of this size, especially when you compare it with something like a BMW 5 Series GT which tips the scales at more than 2000kg.
This is good for both handling and fuel economy. As it doesn't have much bulk to carry around the A7 Sportback feels very nimble, like a much smaller car in fact, and through a series of tight bends it doesn't lose its composure, remaining surefooted with impressive agility when changing direction.
This is partly down to the fact the A7 Sportback is the first volume model from Audi to be equipped with the next generation of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system which features a crown-gear centre differential and torque vectoring.
It's all fairly complex (and dull) stuff, but in short the torque vectoring system detects if the wheels on the inside of the bend are about to slip and marginally and brakes these wheels - just a slight application of the brake pads is all that it takes.
This allows more torque to be diverted to the wheel on the outside of the curve, so cornering requires less steering input and is sharper too. It works very well and the A7 Sportback feels very tidy through bends helped by excellent body control and high levels of grip.
All models come with quattro four-wheel drive with the exception of the lower-powered 3.0 TDI but despite the absence, this model is still a great performer and is more than capable of delivering strong pace thanks to 400Nm of torque.
It's more relaxed than the high-powered version but that's down to the fact it comes with an eight-speed multitronic gearbox rather than the more sporty seven-speed S tronic that features on the quattro models.
The multitronic is very smooth as you'd expect of a CVT gearbox but does sometimes need an extra second before it decides to kickdown a gear and isn't as urgent as the S tronic, but when it comes to relaxed cruising it's perfect.
In July 2011 a 3.0 TDI 204PS quattro model was introduced that is fitted with the seven-speed S tronic gearbox rather than the eight-speed multitronic. Despite having four-wheel drive, it's actually slightly quicker from 0-62mph taking 7.2 seconds.
The more powerful 3.0 TDI quattro model (which originally had 245PS - later upped to 272PS) has lots of torque and really is the perfect engine for the A7 Sportback with plenty of mid-range punch, genuine performance and incredible response when you ask it to accelerate.
The excellent S tronic twin-clutch gearbox works superbly well too and there are also paddles on the steering wheel if you fancy shifting gear yourself. Despite its ability, it's still frugal.
As you'd expect, the A7 Sportback is ideal for long distance cruising thanks to great sound insulation while the smooth shape means there's no wind noise either. The ride is forgiving and well controlled, although the S line models which have lowered sports suspension (and 19-inch alloy wheels) are noticeably stiffer so aren't the best choice if you want outright comfort, although they still deal well with uneven roads and are rarely crashy.
All models come with Audi's adaptive dynamics system which allows you to fine tune the steering weight, throttle response and gear change points depending on whether you want comfort or a bit more sportiness. Adaptive air suspension is also available as an optional extra.
|2.8 FSI quattro||35 mpg||8.3 s||187 g/km|
|3.0 BiTDI quattro||45–54 mpg||5.2–5.3 s||136–167 g/km|
|3.0 TDI||55 mpg||7.4 s||135 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 204 quattro||48–49 mpg||6.3–7.2 s||152–156 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 218 quattro||52–54 mpg||6.8 s||136–142 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 218 Ultra||58–60 mpg||7.3 s||122–128 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 245 quattro||48 mpg||6.3 s||156 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 272 quattro||52–54 mpg||5.7 s||136–142 g/km|
|3.0 TDI quattro||49 mpg||7.2 s||152 g/km|
|3.0 TFSI quattro||34–54 mpg||5.1–5.6 s||176–190 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
Should I replace my beloved diesel Audi A7 with a petrol version to avoid plummeting resale value?
What Cars Are Similar To The Audi A7 Sportback (2011 – 2018)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Diesel engine, Four-wheel drive, High quality interior, Large boot, Modern technology, Motorway cruiser, Petrol engine, Quiet cabin, Refined ride, Room for a buggy and Luxury.
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What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 33%
- 4 star 17%
- 3 star 50%
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